Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

RIP: Fat Beats stores in NYC and LA closing

Fat Beats in New York and Los Angeles are closing

Fat Beats, the place Biz Markie and countless other hip hop heads copped their tunes, is closing this month after 16 years. May be the writing was on the wall when its Amsterdam store closed in back in 2007.

I was reminiscing about my first visit to Fat Beats New York in the 90s when Spike still worked there a few years after it had opened. And of course, I remember Amsterdam since I used to visit on occasion. Now I live in LA I have to say that I've only been in the store a handful of times. And that's the problem...record stores alone cannot survive on walk-in customers alone! 

Video from the 90s heyday of MTV...

Fat Beats 2010

Good news That's why Fat Beats will continue its record label and online retail store which has been doing well, according to reports. Fat Beats head honcho, Joe Abajian, has said he's going to build another (high rent) retail store in the future, but I doubt it'll happen...see my bracketed words. Everyone's online and everyone is going digital on some level. I buy vinyl, but it's rare.

But, there is space for a retail store, however the business model has to be right. Here's an example. I first discovered Turntable Lab (which is around the corner from Fat Beats LA) online. The experience is dope (preview tunes) and the selection is wide. The only thing I don't get was the face-to-face time. Then Turntable Lab LA opened. It has DJ equipment, books, clothing and of course vinyl from independent labels. The staff will always point you in the right direction and also uncover tunes you haven't heard on KCRW etc. But I've only been in a few times, but you know they do most of their business online and probably out of state and overseas.

The failure of Fat Beats stores isn't limited to hip hop or independent stores. There has been a sharp decline of stores on the high street, avenue and boulevard for many years. Tower Records used to have the prestigious Piccadilly Circus location. Virgin Records had the Sunset Blvd. storefront. Where are they now?

Tower Records, Piccadilly Circus, London

Last words
It's not too late to support your local independent record store and to support Record Store Day each year.
The closing of Fat Beats is just like one of my friends passing away. They promoted vinyl at its highest degree for the culture of good music and that makes it more difficult to say goodbye.” DJ Premier
Fat Beats New York will be closing on September 4th with Fat Beats LA closing shortly afterwards on September 18th. Special close-out deals are expected in-store and online at Fat Beats.

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